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How to Reduce WordPress Load Time by 4.6 Seconds in an Hour

WordPress is one of the most frequently used platforms for content management systems. WP accounts for almost 19% of all websites. Its popularity among users results from the fact that it’s intuitive and easy to use.

However, the default options on WordPress can slow down your website. I will show you how to improve your WP configuration and make it faster. Site speed is crucial for both the user experience and SEO. Let me show you how you can do it TODAY with only one hour of work!

Take a look at how several changes can influence your website’s loading time. In the case of our website, we’ve managed to save 4.6 seconds of page load time!

Before optimization:

After optimization:

1. Remove unnecessary WordPress plugins

Excessive plugins slow down loading time. More importantly, they make your website heavier, which affects its performance.

It is strongly recommended that all useless plugins should be uninstalled. You can do this in many ways. For temporary use you should try the P3 plugin which is extremely helpful. For long term use, measure your page performance, check the installed plugins and get rid of everything you do not need.

2. Enable caching

Caching highly improves the user experience and page speed. Temporarily saved files on the users’ computers make your site faster after the first visit. All the static files are saved and might be used again.

The easiest way to utilize caching is to use WordPress plugins. Use the most trusted WP plugins –  W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache. After installation and simple optimization, you will be really surprised with the results. It can even improve your overall website performance tenfold.

3. Optimize images

Images exploit the majority of the server bandwidth and increase page rendering. Define the maximum size of images and use lossless compression. You can do this in two ways:

Manually

Compress manually any photos you share. Use lossless image compression to make them lighter. Before you add them to your site, you might reduce their size using a free tool called TinyPNG. It reduces the size of pictures up to 75% without any visible loss in quality.  This online tool is even better than Photoshop compression! Take a look at this example:

Original PNG (555KB)

Compressed PNG (195KB)

Thanks to lossless compression, I reduced the size by 65% (360KB) for this PNG image.

Automatically

Alternatively, you might use WordPress plugins. It saves you time in comparison to the manual approach. If you do not want to change the already uploaded pictures, you can use WP-SmushItOptimus plugin or ShortPixel. It scans your images and compresses them.

This single step can reduce the used server memory and saves bandwidth consumption when somebody wants to load your website. In most cases, 50% of the page weight are images. Make them lighter and see the difference.

4. Keep your database clean

Your WordPress database saves all the data: the data you need and the data you won’t ever need again. To boost your website simply remove old post revisions, draft posts, posts in trash and spammy comments.

This step will make your database clean and reduce its size to the minimum.

How to do that? You can do it manually to reduce the number of plugins in your CMS or install the WP-Optimize plugin. It provides efficient database optimization and enables you to schedule the next dates for cleaning.

5. Use Lazy Loading for images

Another step to reduce rendering time is using lazy loading. This process prioritizes the loading of visible images. If the user scrolls down, other images are loaded. It’s appropriate especially for long websites.

To make it work, add the right script to your HTML code or install another plugin called BJ Lazy Load.

Adding code to your WP is time-consuming, but will definitely get you great results. Remember, the fewer plugins there are, the better it is for your performance.

6. Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks

WordPress has pingbacks and trackbacks switched on by default. You get them every time some other website mentions your article. Unfortunately, this is heavily overused by spammers. Keeping it on burdens your server resources and automatically slows down the page. If you want to turn off the P&T option, just change it in WP Admin->Setting->Discussion. In the settings of your WP, you can change the e-mail notifications from other websites. It helps you to speed up your WordPress a little bit more.

7. Good hosting provider

The last thing I would like to discuss is your hosting provider. Please take a look and check your server’s performance using GTMetrix or ByteCheck.

There are only two steps to analyze your site speed:

  1. Paste the URL you want to check.
  2. Click “Analyze”.

Now you see your statistics.

You have to pay special attention to “Page Loading Time”, “Total Page Size” and the number of requests. The shorter the load time and smaller page size, the better.

Server speed, especially server response time, is an important factor influencing your website’s performance. Available storage, bandwidth limits, connection limits and the price are things you have to take into account as well. Choose the most suitable option for you, but don’t save too much on performance. Good servers won’t be cheap.


Conclusion

If you want to be a little bit closer to website performance perfection, just follow these seven tips. It will help you to improve your position in search engine rankings and enhance the user experience. Users – specifically happy users – are a crucial part of your success.

If you have other ideas how to speed up WordPress, do not hesitate to share them with us! For the time being, share the post and download your own “To Do List” with tools that can help you.

Published
  • 17 April 2016
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Wojtek-Murawski

See all articles by Wojciech Murawski

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